NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – A day after a High Court ruling lifting a ban on the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) sparked panic in government, the group is now urging the State to stop fearing them.
Speaking through their lawyer Abraham Sing’oei, MRC said the court’s ruling indicated that their activities did not call for alarm since any illegal activities would not be condoned.
Sing’oei further said that debate on cessation was highly blown out of proportion, quoting the court’s ruling which said cessation would need the support of a majority of Kenyans in a referendum.
“Changing any part of the territory needs an amendment of Article Five which requires that be done by way of a referendum and be supported by over two-thirds of the counties established by the Constitution. That means that out of the 47 counties, at least 35 of the counties beyond the coast have to support that idea,” he said.
He further pointed out that for secession to succeed, MRC needs to sell the idea to Kenyans which will be impossible if they are regarded in fear.
“MRC actually has to come out of the Coast and engage Kenyans on why they think this is the only way that their grievances can be addressed,” he explained.
“Are they so oppressed? Have they lost so much of their land rights? Have they no say in the governance of the affairs so much that the only way they can do this is by cessation? Now these are the questions that they need to convince Kenyans about,” he stated.
While acknowledging the right of appeal by the AG, the advocate emphasised that it will not bear much fruit since there was no evidence against MRC.
“It is important to emphasise that the right to appeal is a constitutional right and the Attorney General is within his rights to be able to appeal. As to the probability of success, that is for the courts to decide. However, I am very convinced that there is very little that the Attorney General will succeed in,” he said.
He however termed Wednesday’s decision as a landmark ruling since it upheld the fundamental freedoms of association and expression.
He further pointed out that the High Court’s decision indicated that MRC was not an illegal group.
“It is very clear that the manner in which the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act was drafted gives the minister such broad and sweeping powers that are totally unconstitutional, several terms in that Act are vague and ambiguous and are open to all sorts of manipulation,” he said.
He instead urged the government to accept the ruling and use the opportunity provided to dialogue with MRC.
“It is a great opportunity. The government should demonstrate to the rest of us what they are doing at the Coast. It is the whole discussion on inequality which started 10 years ago, and MRC is just pursuing it to the next level,” he said.
Attorney-General Githu Muigai had said that he will appeal against a High Court ruling lifting a ban on the Mombasa Republican Council.
In a statement sent to newsrooms, Senior Deputy Solicitor-General Muthoni Kimani explained that any group challenging the constitutional and territorial authority of the government cannot be protected by the Constitution.
The AG said the decision of the court in revoking the order imposed by the Internal Security Minister in 2010 had failed to consider the legitimate constitutional concerns of the government.
Meanwhile, the National Security Committee was expected to meet on Thursday to address the security implications following the court ruling on the MRC.
“The government reassures Kenyans of their security and that of their property countrywide. I applaud the appeal by the AG. The rule of law will continue to be enforced without fear or favour,” Acting Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia said.